I just got my author’s copies of my July release Doctor in Petticoats. Leave a comment to get your name in the drawing for a signed copy. Here is an excerpt from
DOCTOR IN PETTICOATS
“I need help. I don’t care how drunk you are, how lazy you are or how stupid you are. Right now I need some muscle, and I know you’ve got it. Get on your feet and get over there and help us, or so help me I will rip your arm off and beat you to death with the bloody stump.”
The man’s eyes seemed to clear. Maybe she’d pierced the alcoholic fog. “I’m not drunk.”
Interesting that he hadn’t protested being called stupid or worthless or a skunk. . . what else had she called him? She’d lost track of her insults somewhere along the line.
“Oh, puh-leeze, you expect me to believe you’re this worthless without the help of whiskey?” Beth jammed her fists on her hips and straightened away from him. She had to get some air. “If that’s true then I might as well shoot you here and now. Do the whole world a favor.”
The drunk’s eyes slid from her to the writhing man. Beth had always been sensitive to others. Her ma had told her many times that was her finest gift.
Right now it felt like a curse.
Beth saw something so vulnerable and fragile in the man’s eyes that she almost regretted asking for help. It wasn’t fear or laziness or stupidity or drunkenness. It was as if Leo’s suffering ate into this man’s soul.
“He’ll still hurt. Dislocated shoulders take a long time to heal.”
“Yes, it’ll take time to heal but the second that joint is back in place the pain will lessen. Please.”
Alex didn’t look at her. Instead, riveted on Leo, he pushed himself to his feet. His eyes filled with tears. His lips moved silently. She wondered if it was a prayer.
He swiped his sleeve across his forehead, in a way meant to disguise wiping his eyes. “I. . . I can’t. I can’t help him.”
He wheeled away from the blood and pain.
Beth caught his forearm with a hard slap of flesh on flesh. “You don’t have a choice.”
Beth was afraid she might have to tackle him. “I’m not giving you one.”
Alex turned, stared at her. Their eyes locked. Seconds stretched to a minute, maybe longer. Growing slowly, a sensation Beth had never felt before almost made her let go, back away. Those eyes, it was as if he was looking all the way into her soul. She felt strength drain from her as if he was drawing on reserves within her, soaking up courage like desert ground in a rainstorm.
Her hand was on his wrist and out of habit, she slid her fingers a bit to feel his pulse slamming at double the rate it should have. To Beth’s sensitive touch it was as if his very blood cried out to be delivered from what he had to do.
God, give me strength. Strength enough for us both.
Still, Alex watched her, drew from her. Leo fell silent, or maybe Beth was drawn so deeply into Alex’s eyes that she couldn’t connect with the world anymore.
Finally, Alex’s eyes fell shut. Beth saw tears again, along the rim of his lashes, thick dark lashes to match hair, hanging long, nearly in ringlets around his neck.
She held onto his wrist, to lend support now, rather than to restrain him. Then he started nodding. He physically changed. He seemed to grow taller, his shoulder’s squared, his chin came up. When he opened his eyes a new man was there, or maybe an old man, the man Alex Buchanan used to be before he crawled inside a bottle.
Beth could see what this was costing him. As if he paid for this courage by stripping off his skin with a razor.
He’d awakened something in her while their eyes were locked, something brand new.
“Let’s do it,” he said.
She’d never been so proud of anyone in her life.
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